Making recycled jewelry is a great rainy-day or family activity and not only helps chips away at the amount of waste we usually toss, but also makes unique and fashionable pieces for wear. Here are three methods of using recycled objects
to make personal jewelry pieces.
Flatware is a popular starting point in jewelry making. Real silverware can come in beautiful designs and mis-matched pieces are easily found in antique shops and at flea markets. Bracelets are some of the most popular bangles to make, but rings and earrings can also be crafted.
If you choose a piece of flatware, heating is not usually necessary, and so by using tongs and pliers with some strength a bracelet can be easily crafted by bending to spoon so that the handle end is sitting inside the bowl of the spoon. This can also double as a pendant for a necklace. If you choose a fork, the tongs can either be spiraled for a unique design or curved to fit the wrist.
Earrings are also a unique choice. By detaching the end of a fork and either braiding the tongs or adding beads, you can then easily connect them to earring hooks or a necklace chain.
If you choose real silverware heating will be necessary using a kiln or stove. Heat until the metal is cherry-red and using a bracelet or jewelry mold wrapped in electrical tape, mold the utensil to the design. Once molded, wait about a day for the metal to cool completely and try it on!
Look around for some techniques to emulate, and remember: if using real silverware, wear protective hand coverings when utensils are hot.
Kids love the colorful aspect of toothbrush bracelets and they’re a great way to recycle. Kid’s brushes are usually best for this activity because they lack rubber grips and are of a uniform width all the way through.
First, boil a pot of water on the stovetop. While waiting for it to boil, pull the bristles out of the brush with a pair of needle-nose pliers. When the water reaches boiling, take it off the stove and drop the brush into the water. It takes about 5 minuets for the plastic to start to soften, but when it does remove the brush with a pair of tongs and wait for it to become cool enough to handle.
When it is cool enough to touch with a dish towel, you can mold it by bending it around a glass jar. When your desired effect is achieved, set the plastic into a bowl of ice for about 5-10 seconds. It will set and you can try it on. If it doesn’t fir correctly, you can re-soften the plastic and try again until your bracelet is perfect.
Fish hooks (and especially fly fishing lures) often come in colorful feathered and fish-shaped varieties and can make fun, unique jewelry. Using ‘used’ lures may not be the most appetizing, but if you belong to a fishing family, chance is you have a wealth of unused lures around.
To make a bracelet, use fishing swivels
. Swivels are easily linked together to make a durable, water-proof bracelet or necklace to which You can bend out the hook with pliers and add colored beads. Feel free to vary swivel sizes and color for a personal effect.
To make earrings, feathered Spinnerbait
lures works best. Clip off the hook points using wire cutters and if possible, feel free to string beads on the remaining straight hook. To cap it, use needle nose piers to curve up the remaining hook to keep the beads on and prevent being poked. Attach hanging earring hooks to the opposite end, readily found at crafts stores.
So what are you waiting for? Scrounge the house for some left-over objects and get crafting!
My Bio & Articles
I am an junior English major/ Philosophy minor at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. Currently I am spending the spring of 2009 studying at the University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.